Brain-computer Interface to Help Control People’s Gait
A new study shows the use of brain-computer interface with a virtual walking avatar to control and individual’s gait.
Brain monitoring is a fast emerging field that combines science with technology. Such devices measure function of the brain linked with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and strokes. Rampant development in technology is rapidly bringing new developments in the market, according to brain monitoring market report published by Coherent Market Insights.
Researchers from the University of Houston developed a technology that promises to help patients recover the ability to walk after spinal cord injuries, stroke, or other gait disabilities.
The brain-computer interface can promote and enhance cortical involvement during walking.
The researchers used non-invasive brain monitoring to determine which parts of the brain were involved in an activity, the information obtained was further used to create an algorithm, or brain-machine interface. This has the ability to translate the subject’s intentions into action.
“Voluntary control of movements is crucial for motor learning and physical rehabilitation. Our results suggest the possible benefits of using a closed-loop EEG-based BCI-VR system in inducing voluntary control of human gait,” said the researchers.
Researchers already knew electroencephalogram (EEG) readings of brain activity can distinguish whether a subject is standing still or walking. But they hadn’t previously known if a brain-computer interface was practical for helping to promote the ability to walk, or what parts of the brain are relevant to determining gait.
Motion sensing first activated the avatar precisely mimicking that of the test subject. Later the subject controlled the avatar with their brain.
The avatar perfectly mimicked the subject’s movements when relying upon the sensors, but the match was less precise when the brain-computer interface was used.
The brain machine interface places the subject at the center of this therapy, allowing them to engage actively, as they are in control of the movements.
This development has immense potential to improve a person’s gait and may be used as an authentic means of therapy in the near future.
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